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» How to Find and Hire a Lawyer

How Did I Do It? > Legal > How to Find and Hire a Lawyer
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When you need to find a lawyer, it’s difficult to make the choice.

If you’re a law expert, then you probably know the right person off the tip of your tongue, but for the rest of us who don’t know a tort from a class action lawsuit, the process is difficult to understand.

Still, the eenie-meenie-meinie-moe technique isn’t a good idea; this person might be representing you in a lawsuit or negotiating a contract for you, so you need to choose someone competent.

If you have legal problems to solve, getting a good lawyer is imperative in the US justice system.
If you have legal problems to solve, getting a good lawyer is imperative in the US justice system.

Follow these steps to select a good lawyer who will serve you well:

  1. Get your starting list from the American Bar Association. Their website will allow you to search for lawyers in your area, and you’ll know that everyone on the list is a member in good standing.
  2. Consider who you know and what you intend to use the lawyer for. If you own a small business, ask other small business owners who they use. If you’re looking for someone to handle all of your family’s legal needs, ask other families in your social circle. Obviously, you don’t want to pry into their legal affairs; simply ask who they use and if they’re happy with the service.
  3. Use the word-of-mouth recommendations to create a short list of two or three lawyers, and call up their offices. Explain that you’re looking for a new law firm and would like to ask some questions. Ask basic questions like how long they’ve been in business, how much fees generally run, and how often their cases are settled out of court. Not only do you want to know this information, but you also want to pay attention to how your questions are received. You want someone who will take the time to answer your questions in an easy-to-understand manner. You don’t want someone who is going to rush you off the phone all the time or overload you with legal jargon that you don’t understand.
  4. If you’re in the middle of a lawsuit or other legal action, ask for estimated timelines and how cases like this usually proceed. Remember to couch all of your questions in general terms; you’re not looking for free legal advice, you’re looking to understand how this law firm would approach your problem. And try to keep it brief; you’re not a paying customer just yet. You’ll have plenty of time to ask detailed questions once you’ve selected someone; right now you’re just trying to determine if the lawyer is responsive to your needs.
  5. When you’ve found someone that you’re comfortable with, get a copy of their contract and read it over. Don’t sign it if you don’t understand it. Call the office and get an explanation. If you’ve chosen wisely, they should be happy to explain everything to your satisfaction.

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